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Enhancing TETFund’s financial allocation for improved intervention

By Guardian Nigeria
12 May 2023   |   2:56 am
There is no doubt that Nigeria’s public tertiary institutions are in dire need of attention. For this reason, stakeholders in the education sector have continued to call on the federal government to increase budgetary allocations...

TETFUND Executive Secretary Sonny Echono

There is no doubt that Nigeria’s public tertiary institutions are in dire need of attention. For this reason, stakeholders in the education sector have continued to call on the federal government to increase budgetary allocations, not only for physical infrastructure but also for researches, welfare and other provisions that would enable Nigerian graduates to compete with their counterparts anywhere in the world.

Beside this, it will also go a long way in mitigating incessant industrial actions by lecturers and non-academic staff. Unfortunately, not much has been done by the government in this regard, a situation that many fear, may trigger more disruptions of academic activities.

To forestall this unwarranted incidents, the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund), under Arch. Sunny Echono, has been making series of efforts at filling the infrastructural, intellectual and creative deficit gaps through quick delivery of standard projects, a development many people have credited to timely release of funds by the agency. Echono has received commendations, not only for timely and seamless release of funds for projects but also, for proper planning, monitoring and evaluation of such projects through a formidable projects management framework.

To ensure that all stakeholders key into his vision, especially with regards to timely completion of projects, strict adherence to standard, judicious utilization of funds and other necessities, TETFund under Echono had held series of meetings with heads of relevant departments, including heads of procurement of benefiting tertiary institutions. The reason was to make all those involved in the various segments of projects execution to imbibe the already established benchmarks, especially in terms of standard, cost and timely delivery. He understood the imperative of effective communication to keep everyone informed about project development, challenges and necessary solutions.
Going through public tertiary institutions today, one bears witness to series of projects, either ongoing or completed within the timeframe allotted to it, as a result of Echono’s leadership approach.

However, while the Fund’s mission is to provide focused and transformative intervention in public tertiary institutions in the country through funding and effective project management, the fact remains that it is almost impossible for the public schools to rely absolutely on TETFund to meet its infrastructural and other needs due to the limited fund the agency is operating with.
Consequently, Echono recently implored President Muhammadu Buhari to give assent to Finance Bill 2023 before leaving office. He had made the call at a meeting to disburse allocation to public institutions. Echono, having seen the succees recorded in the previous year through increase in the education tax, believed that granting his request as a parting gift will ensure that revenue allocations in subsequent years will also improve. Education Tax, which was imposed on every Nigerian company at the rate of 2.5 per cent (as amended in the 2021 Finance Act) brought some relief to the Fund and by extension, benefiting institutions.

No doubt, the enormous responsibility of repositioning public tertiary institutions for greater productivity and competence requires urgent intervention by the government, especially through assent to the Finance Bill 2023. The Bill provides for an upward review of the education tax to three per cent. If the expected increase comes into effect, the ES explained that Fund would be able to expand its scope of interventions. Therefore, it is imperative to continually remind Mr. President of this all important task waiting patiently for his attention.
Yet, despite all the challenges, TETFund under Echono has been able to live up to its mandate in terms of both physical interventions, partnerships that produced innovative results, scholarships and researches. The ES has made the presence of the Fund felt across the country as he commissioned one project after the other. In fact, most of the structures in terms of classrooms, libraries and laboratories that liter across public schools in the country are products of TETFund interventions.
The fund has also engaged in the knowledge content of education through publishing of textbooks for students and lecturers. While physical development efforts are commendable, people believed that interventions in knowledge growth and development through availability of texts, research grants, technological innovations and creativity are more commendable.

Echono’s drive and commitment towards enhancing the standard of public institutions in the past one year are glaring and many believed that if his zeal and efforts are supported through adequate funding, the nation will be better for it.

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